BUFFALO, NY - Alina Rodriguez was 13-years old when she drowned while trying to save her sister in Cazenovia Creek last year.
On the somber one year anniversary of her death, the girl's family and friends in the Pine Harbor Apartment complex in Buffalo held what they call a balloon launch vigil. Purple balloons were released into the air to remember Alina.
"I miss her. I'm so sad today. It's a year I lost my daughter, it's hard for me," said Brenda Galarza, mother of Alina.
The family ordered a customized jet black granite grave marker with Alina's picture. When they went to her grave site in Forest Lawn last weekend it still was not in place. Today, they were pleased to see pictures of the new grave marker. "It's beautiful," said the mother. It was specially designed by Stone Art Memorial. Sharon Tell, president of the Pine Harbor Events Committee had a special plaque signed by the Buffalo Common Council presented to Luz Rodriguez. She's the sister who is alive because Alina pushed her to safety. "This happening to her and her feeling so guilty we don't want her to go the wrong way, we want to keep her on the right path," she said.
Luz did not want to talk about the death of her sister. Her other siblings remember Alina as "beautiful and brilliant."